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Black Agenda Radio – 10.08.18

Welcome to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. I’m Glen Ford, along with my co-host Nellie Bailey. Coming up: The civil rights movement shook American racial apartheid to its foundations, inflicting profound defeats on white supremacy, but the defenders of the old racial regime have turned that history into a feather in the cap of American exceptionalism; and, the Pennsylvania prison system is using a dubious alleged drug-induced health crisis to impose unprecedented restrictions on inmate mail and visitation.

Israel is the only nuclear power on Earth that has not only refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement, but enforces a vow of silence on U.S. presidents from both political parties. The Washington DC-based Institute for Research on Middle Eastern Policy has filed suit in federal court to make public letters that the New Yorker magazine says every president since Bill Clinton has signed, promising to never publicly discuss Israel’s arsenal of nuclear weapons or to pressure Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We spoke with Grant Smith, director of the Institute, and asked him, How could it be that, for two generations, all discussion of Israeli nukes has been forbidden in official Washington?

The same people who fought the civil rights movement tooth and nail, defending discrimination and segregation, now use the movement’s victories as proof that the United States is an inherently good country, a nation that means well even when it is wrong. As proof, they point to the successes of the U.S. civil rights movement, two generations ago. Jeanne Theoharis is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College at the City University of New York, and author of the new book, “A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History.” Theoharis says the civil rights movement and its leaders have become props for American exceptionalism.

Pennsylvania’s 25 state prisons all went on lockdown, last month, with no notification to inmates or the public. It eventually emerged that the state was claiming that prison guards and other employees had been poisoned by contraband drugs that were smuggled into prison. Medical experts and others questioned the state’s story. Among the most skeptical parties are the lawyers for the Abolitionist Law Center and the Amistad Law Project, who fight for prisoners’ rights in Pennsylvania. Kris Henderson is with the Amistad Law Project, in Philadelphia.

Dr. Joseph Harris is a former member of the Black Panther Party, and currently the personal physician to Mumia Abu Jamal, the best known political prisoner in the Pennsylvania prison system. Dr. Harris has visited Mumia since the lockdown and shakeup of the state prison system. Harris played a key role in Mumia’s fight to be cured of hepatitis-C, for himself and thousands of other inmates.

 

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